Are you working for profit or to create an impact? For serial-entrepreneur Balázs Horváth it used to be all about the money. But during his years at EIT Digital Master School, he made a big shift in his thinking. Nowadays his drive for running several businesses, next to a full-time PhD, is giving back to society. “I want to make an impact and empower others to live for their passions.”
Researching predictive maintenance for the telecom industry
Horváth’s full-time job is currently being an EIT Digital Industrial Doctorate student. Under the academic supervision of ELTE University in Budapest, he researches how to use data efficiently at Magyar Hungarian Telekom and Deutsche Telekom. His focus is time series, forecasting, and anomaly detecting – in other words, predicting potential problems to prevent them from happening. What he likes most about his industrial doctorate is working directly with the industry. “Industrial doctorates completely change the way research is done. Previously, you did your research, published the results and then maybe the industry applied it five years later. Now I’m working with an industrial partner that has a problem and has data. With my applied research, I can tackle their problem.”
Changing the mindset
Horváth believes his research can benefit other sectors as well and is eager to bring his solutions there too: “If I could bring my research to, for example, the agricultural domain, I would set up a new company to help farmers farm more efficiently, save them costs and keep food prices affordable for a lot of people.”Especially that last part is important to Horváth. During his first years at the EIT Digital Master School, his mindset as an entrepreneur changed. Before that Horváth described himself as a profit oriented guy: “I wanted to learn how to make money being an entrepreneur. But at EIT Digital I met a lot of different people who were fuelled with a passion to give back to society.
“Now I want to change other people’s mindset and make an impact too. The biggest lesson I learned from the EIT Digital Master School was never to create a company with the mission of making money. You will hate the company in the end. When you set out to create a company, you need a mission or passion to change something in the world. Purpose-driven companies are the ones that become successful.”
In the second year of his masters, he was asked to be one of the volunteer coaches at the EIT Digital Master School Kick-Off in Rennes (2016) and a year later in Helsinki. Last year, already a PhD student, he was one of the two head coaches at the Kick-Off in Paris and also coached in the Summer Schools in Lisbon and Budapest. He felt very passionate about it and as it goes with entrepreneurial people, this passion led to a new company.
Coaching and mentoring
Together with Ákos Wetters, coach at EIT Digital, and two other EIT Digital Master School alumni, Alessandro Tomasi from Italy and Krishna lyer Easwaran from India, he co-founded Kimitisik, based in the Netherlands. The goal is to empower people to create impact via coaching, training and mentoring in universities, companies and organisations. Their clients come mostly from the Middle and Far East, Latin America and Australia and New Zealand. Recently, Horváth was asked to mentor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) during its two-week summer school for international high school students called Future Hack. “We hope we can bring something of the European mindset across the Atlantic.”
What about the money?
Next to this feel-good-working, money still has to be made. Horváth has another company next to Kimitsik. He started a small software developing company before heading to the university in Finland. Due to the lack of developers there, he soon got flooded with clients. “I did not even have a website then,” he recalls. He started hiring freelance developers himself.
“Currently my company MFDevelopment has eight freelancers at work all the time. I am the bridge between the freelancers and the market. They are digital nomads. They like to code. I like to talk to clients. So I have automatized a lot of tasks, such as a ticket system for my developers. I work only two hours a week for MF Development. And meetings with my fellow co-founders at Kimitisik usually take place at weekends and in the holidays. In my everyday life, I am a PhD student. I love that, because I’m doing my research for the public good.”
Learn more at EIT Digital Conference
Want to know more about Balázs Horváth and his drive to create purposeful companies? Hear what he has to say at the upcoming EIT Digital Conference on September 10th and 11th, where he will participate in a panel. The two-day conference in Brussels features influential speakers and will let you experience innovations and companies that will change the rules of the game in the digital wellbeing, tech, cities, industry and finance domains. Tickets are free of charge, registration is open now.